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Polish community organisations

Ignacy Domeyko Polish Library Polish Catholic Mission in Argentina   Ignacy Domeyko Polish Library Jorge Luis Borges 2076 1425 Buenos Aires ARGENTINA Phone + 54-11 4774-7621 Fax + 54 11 4774-3679 E-mail: Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript. Creation and short history: Origins of the library are connected to the preparations of the Polish community in Argentina to celebrate the 1000-year anniversary of Poland’s baptism in 1966. The aim of the post created at the time was to gather Poles dispersed in Latin American countries as well as to document the activity of Polish immigrants and provide them with information about Poland. The first president of the library was Jerzy Stempowski, a well-known emigration activist. Considerable services for the development of the institution rendered, among others, Karol Orłowski, Jan Wolski, Włodzimierz Toczyłowski and Irena Nawrot. Description of the collection: Archival materials gathered in the library consists mainly of files created by the library itself which until the 90s was an independent Polish community organisation, associated with the Polish Association in Argentina and for more than ten years constitutes an organisational unit of the Association. Archive records include mainly exhibition materials, for example photos or posters. In addition the library has collected documents of some Polish organisations or private persons. The oldest documents go back as far as first years of the 20th century, majority of them comes from the legacy of one of the most active Polish community activists, Bolesław Schreiber, and consists mostly of: the correspondence of the Polish Society in Buenos Aires (1893, 1904-1918), the first Polish community organisation in Latin America created in 1891; the correspondence with the editorial team of the Polish community magazine “Wiadomości Polskie” (1917); documents of the Gymnastic Association “Sokół” in Buenos Aires (1908); Polish Social and Working Class Society “Równość” (1917), and also the “Wolna Polska” Society in Buenos Aires (1918-1920). There are also valuable materials from the period of the World War II, for example, documents of the Committee for Helping the War Victims in Poland in Buenos Aires (1939-1946). Especially interesting in the library’s collection are the mementos of Adam Mickiewicz from the legacy of Father Jerzy Bekier who received them from the poet’s granddaughter during his stay in Paris in 1949. These are religious pictures from the poet’s prayer book. Collaboration with the Head Office of State Archives: The Ignacy Domeyko Polish Library started collaboration with the Head Office of State Archives in 2008. In July 2008 an archivist from Poland started works on description of the Library’s archive materials and on preparation of their working records. These works have not been completed due to significant fragmentation of materials and continuing renovation works in the building of the library and relocation of the library’s collection. The prepared working records of the archive materials cover the years 1942-2008. These are mainly the documents of Polish organisations and associations that operated in Argentina and include photographs, publications, press cuttings and drawings. Plan for future works: The basic task is to continue the inventorying and organisational works. The next step would be to organise the materials within individual collections, including organisation of photographic resources and creation of collection records in databases used by the archives in Poland. Polish Catholic Mission in Argentina c.G.A. Becquer 2360 B1683 DFH Martin Coronado prov. Buenos Aires ARGENTINA Ph./Fax: + 54 11 4842 0589 E-mail: Ten adres pocztowy jest chroniony przed spamowaniem. Aby go zobaczyć, konieczne jest włączenie w przeglądarce obsługi JavaScript. Creation and short history The monastery in Martin Coronado was established in 1957 and from that moment the collection of archive and library materials began. The archive was started with the documents left by the founders of the monastery, Father Andrzej Smoleń and Father Justynian Maciaszek. In subsequent years the archive materials were expanded by Father Emil Seroka, former inmate of the concentration camp in Dachau and after the War for many years a priest in the United States of America. Since 1966 the materials concerning Poles in Argentina have been gathered by Father Herkulan Wróbel who takes care of the Mission’s archive. Description of the collection After the preliminary organisational works the archive materials are estimated at 26 linear metres (more than 1 thousand files). Archive materials are divided into two main groups: files created in the course of the activity of the Mission and the Franciscan Monastery in Martin Coronado, and legacy of Poles living in Argentina, plus materials of a few Polish community organisations. The first group of files documents the history of the Mission and the Polish Catholic Centre in Martin Coronado. It consists of documents related to pastoral activity, information on Polish priests and nuns working in Argentina from the end of the 19th century, sermons, studies and papers of individual priests, the Mission’s correspondence, materials concerning the imprisonment of Polish priests in concentration camps in Dachau and Auschwitz. The second group of the collection consists of materials created by Polish organisations in Argentina, including documents of: the Polish Catholic Society in Martin Coronado, Polish Scouting Association in Argentina (1949-2002), Polish Association “Poznań” in José C. Paz (does not exist anymore), Society of Polish Catholics in Argentina (in Buenos Aires), Society of Legionaries and Polish Military Organisation in Argentina (in fragments from years 1933, 1938, 1964-1979). Among the legacies of private persons the most valuable are the materials created or gathered by Józef Filipowicz, a pilot from September 1939, who later lived in France and Great Britain, Jan Gilowski dating back to the Polish-Soviet War, Józef Massalski (register of combat flights from the years 1940-1946), Rudolf Leroch-Orlot, officer of the 1st Brigade of Polish Legions and for many years president of the Society of the Legionnaires and Polish Military Organisation, Włodzimierz Toczyłowski and the legacies of gen. Jerzy Zawisza, col. Władysław Zakrzewski and Stanisław Śliwiński. The documents are supplemented by recordings (around 250 audio tapes) and a collection of several hundred photographs. The Polish Catholic Centre in Martin Coronado also has a museum room called the Museum of Polish Army in a school building where mementoes of the Polish Armed Forces soldiers are collected, these include for example uniforms, elements of military equipment, photos, maps and other documents. In the monastery a white and red flag from the Warsaw Uprising, the property of a female squad of Battalion “Zośka” in Martin Coronado, is kept. Collaboration with the Head Office of State Archives: The Polish Catholic Mission started the collaboration with the Head Office of State Archives in 2008. Then to Martin Coronado was sent an experienced archivist from the Archive of New Files who conducted preliminary analysis of the Mission’s collection and prepared its working records. All the gathered materials were analysed in order to determine the structure of the archive. As a result the archive materials were divided into 3 main parts: archive of the Observantine Monastery and the Mission, private archive of Father Herkulan Wróbel, for many years an employee and the rector of the Mission, materials created by various institutions and private persons operating in exile. The next step was to group the materials within twenty-four groups and start their organisation. In result of a 3-month stay a detailed report on archive materials concerning Poland and Poles was prepared, these materials are kept in other Polish organisations in Argentina, for example, in the Association of Polish Veterans in Buenos Aires, Polish Association in Cordoba, Polish Society “Dom Polski” and Frederic Chopin Polish Association in Rosario, as well as in collections of private persons. Plan for future works The basic task is to continue the inventorying and organisational works, in the first place including further inventorying works within the initially divided material groups of the files. There is also a need to help in conservation of some of the documents. Since documents gathered in many important Polish community centres in Argentina were not assessed (e.g. in Santa Fe, Mendoza, Neuquen, Jujuy or Salta provinces, but also around Buenos Aires and Gran Buenos Aires in Berisso, Valentin Alsina, Berezategui, and also in the Misiones Province in Posada, Azara, Apostoles, Obera, Gobernador Roca) it seems necessary to continue the description works. There is also the need to organise archive training (ideally in Spanish) for the persons working in Polish community centres in Argentina.      
ul.Rakowiecka 2D, 02-517 Warszawa
tel.(+48 22) 565-46-00, fax (+48 22) 565-46-14
email: ndap@archiwa.gov.pl